Residents raise opposition to NZKS plan

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 11:30 09/10/2012

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Some Marlborough Sounds residents accused King Salmon of operating with a "slash and burn" mentality and failing to acknowledge the danger further farms would pose to boat traffic at a hearing on Friday.

The residents voiced their opposition to King Salmon's proposal to build nine new fish farms in the Sounds during the third day of the Environmental Protection Agency board of inquiry hearings at Waikawa Marae.

East Bay Conservation Society president Mark Denize opposed King Salmon's application, on behalf of the society, saying the farms would pollute the environment and there was a lack of monitoring on existing sites.

"It is now abundantly clear that the entire enterprise is being run under a slash and burn modus operandi when even Clay Point, their highest velocity flow site and still well under its predicted maximum feed load, can reach an impacted state requiring intervention after only four years of operation."

Knox Dowson spoke against a proposed salmon farm at Ngamahau and said his family knew Tory Channel well from owning a bach there for more than 40 years.

He believed the risk to boats and ferries from debris from the farm or the chance it would float away from its mooring in rough conditions was too high and that the aquaculture company did not understand the danger they could pose to human life.

The company had based its research on that provided by the Cawthron Institute but the institute had calculated the water speed too close to the shore and not at the actual location of the proposed farm site where conditions were rougher, he said.

Picton man Jeremy Hall said he opposed all salmon farms on the grounds they could create navigational hazards and toxic algal blooms.

At the end of proceedings, Judge Gordon Whiting thanked the marae, all present and their ancestors, before giving a closing statement in Maori.

"Te Atiawa is clearly a strong and vibrant iwi, it stands tall in the forest of mankind.

"While they are together, they can agree to disagree and it was a privilege to hear.

"The strength of your iwi is reflected in this beautiful marae."

Earlier in the day, Judge Whiting emphasised evidence given by "experts and non-experts" would be given the same weight in judgment.

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- The Marlborough Express

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